Sen. Kamala Harris used her questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday to warn the nation about the possible threat to abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.
Harris, Joe Biden’s Democratic running mate, posed a few questions to President Trump’s conservative Supreme Court nominee during what more-closely resembled a roughly 30-minute campaign speech.
“Right now the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans are urging the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act and all of its patient protections,” Harris said.
“Republicans are scrambling to confirm this nominee as fast as possible because they need one more Trump judge on the bench before Nov. 10 to win and strike down the Affordable Care Act,” she went on. “This is not a hyperbole. This is not a hypothetical. This is happening.”
Harris said it was justified to question Barrett’s impartiality on the ACA, since she has already criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the health care law and because Trump has expressed interest in finding judges to dismantle it.
She asked whether Barrett had been aware of Trump’s comments on finding the right judges. Barrett defended herself stating she has never pledged to anyone on how she would rule on the ACA.
“I have never made a commitment; I have never been asked to make a commitment,” Barrett said, “And I hope the [Senate Judiciary] Committee would trust in my integrity not to even entertain such an idea, and I wouldn’t violate my oath if I was confirmed and heard that case.”
Barrett said if she was confirmed and heard the case she would consider all the individual protections Congress when debating their constitutionality.
“The question would be figuring out whether Congress, assuming that the mandate is unconstitutional now, whether that is consistent with your intent — this is Congress’s law — would permit the act to stand or whether the flawed portion of it could just be excised out,” she said.
“It’s a question of what Congress wanted in that statute.”
Harris’ time Tuesday evening was a sharp contrast to her intense grilling of Trump’s previous Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. The senator elevated her national profile back in 2018 when she aggressively questioned Kavanaugh over her sexual misconduct allegations during the justice’s heated confirmation hearings.
The vice presidential nominee referenced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg throughout her questioning Tuesday and claimed Ginsburg was “was far more forthcoming at her hearing about the essential rights of women” than Barrett was Tuesday night.
“I would suggest that we not pretend that we don’t know how this nominee views a woman’s right to choose and make her own health care decisions,” Harris said as she concluded.
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